kids play at beach
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez creator of Earth Guardians speaks at an event.

A 15-year-old kid from Boulder Colorado just walked into the United Nations and dared a group of world leaders to do something about climate change. WOW.

What were we doing at the tender age of 15?

He performs internationally at music festivals, organizes demonstrations, and has spoken at over 100 high-impact rallies, events and conferences around the globe. Xiuhtezcatl and his younger brother, Itzcuauhtli (their names are Aztec), regularly give school presentations to ignite and inspire youth to step up as leaders and take action on behalf of the planet

Xiuhtezcatl spoke at the UN: "In the last 20 years of negotiations, almost no agreements have been made on a bonding climate recovery plan. What's at stake right now is the existence of my generation. We need to reconnect with the earth and end this mindset that we have that we can take whatever we want without ever giving back. At climate talks the fossil fuel companies are lobbying in the hallways. There are a lot of systems in place that are making it so that we're kind of stuck. It's the truth of the message, the voice, the passion I bring against money."

"It's reassuring there's a conversation going on. We have to speed up the conversation. Unless we make the right decisions, we're going to wind up with a pretty messed-up planet."

"In this World everything is connected. The decisions you make matter, and are going to shape the World. So make great decisions. We all drink the same water. We all live under the same sky." - Xiuhtezcatl Roske Martinez

Earth Guardians recently opened a business office in Boulder, and yes, there is oversight from Mom!

Check out the Earth Guardians website for inspiration and upcoming events. Their song "Who I Am" is awesome!

Young Activists Rock!
via Steve

When I think back to my youth there was not much going on in terms of environmental activism. Everything was fine; gasoline was inexpensive and Earth changes were not yet on the radar screen. There was pollution of course but the cumulative effects were not intrusive enough to set off alarms. Times have changed.

Youth and their involvement in environmental issues will determine the quality of life on our planet going forward. I see an encouraging trend toward awareness and activism with this generation of young people.

Danielle and Chelsea began cleaning up their Florida beach as small children. As they grew older the amount of plastic garbage washing up—especially balloons—noticeably increased so they created Balloons Blow to spread awareness and educate about the perils of releasing them. Sea creatures and birds see plastic as food, consume it, and die when it clogs their GI tract. Their conviction to reduce plastic pollution is inspiring and their collection of images from people helping the clean up effort around the World is impressive. They seek-out mass balloon release events and work through social media to stop them. When their FaceBook followers comment on event sites the organizers have no choice but to reconsider balloon releases. They've tested so called "biodegradable" latex balloons, debunking false claims with real testing. And they do all this as a not-for-profit in their spare time.

"If people can make the connection between letting a seemingly innocent balloon go and causing harm to other beings then maybe they can make the connection between daily activities and their personal effect on this planet." - Balloons Blow

Plastic takes so long to degrade that it ostensibly never goes away. Stevie Van Horn knows this and finds ways to reduce her own plastic use, sharing tips through her blog: trading waste for abundance. Stevie 'walks the walk and talks the talk' finding creative ways to go zero waste: "It is 100% possible to be zero waste! I will say though, if said person is wanting to do it on the exact routine, diet plan or behavior of their old lifestyle, then they will fail miserably. To succeed in zero waste, one must be prepared for every situation they face in a single day. You get thrown a lot of trash per day out of convenience and it’s just replacing and being prepared to say no way. It also means truly changing the things you never even thought about..."

"Life is too great to waste." - Stevie Van Horn

We all buy stuff we don't need: the latest and greatest; effective marketing sells, encouraging consumerism; we throw away so much that can be reused, repurposed, or ultimately recycled. It's easier not to consider where something comes from and where it ends up, but if you take a moment to dig deeper and follow the process you'll realize what we accept as normal is crazy and wasteful. We throw stuff in the garbage and what exactly happens to it? Can the item be recycled? Does it accumulate as landfill? How much energy did it take to produce? How much energy does it take to recycle? Do we really need all this stuff?

The best things in life are not things.

Many years ago I recall a trip to Mexico and a soda came in a glass bottle that was scratched-up and clearly had been used many times before. As an American this was a shock at first but once I got used to it that reused bottle made sense and didn't bother me at all.

There are simple ways we all can do to reduce waste: consolidate trips and drive less; recycle everything that can be recycled; avoid buying plastic items that won't biodegrade; bring your own bag to the grocery store; skip the plastic bag for produce or bring the last one you used. Rethink old patterns and live small...at least for your carbon footprint!

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